Article | May 18, 2021
For twenty years as an editorial contributor to Quality Digest magazine, I have had the pleasure of authoring or collaborating more than 80 articles for the publication. During this two-decade tenure, I have worked with Dirk Dusharme (pictured left), Editor in Chief of Quality Digest.
Quality Digest’s website receives more than three million page views each year, which provide editorial content, live broadcasts, videos, and on-demand webinars presented by industry experts on international quality standards, leadership, manufacturing, metrology, statistical process control, training, and more.
Quality Digest continues its important role as companies navigate a post-COVID reality with a critical role of safety, quality, efficiency, and resiliency. Quality elements are no longer an after-thought. It is essential when examining automation, lean manufacturing, and new paradigms for best practice. During COVID, all of us became more remote savvy and the demand for visionary content and information essential.
According to Dusharme, “Since their debut almost a decade ago, Quality Digest's "enhanced" webinar events have raised the bar for the traditional webinar experience. Our audience has come to expect concise, informative, and engaging presentations with subject matter experts who know what they are talking about. Apart from the traditional quality topics, we delve into areas that broaden our audience’s knowledge. These topics range from cybersecurity, to supply chain management, to understanding and dealing with cognitive biases. Our goal is to provide up-to-date, actionable information that our audience can immediately put to use. Live video feeds of the presenters and the products, interactive Q&A sessions, surveys, and valuable downloads all make up our usual webinar experience, followed by next-day access to the on-demand recording and materials.”
Enhanced Webinars from Quality Digest feature real-time streaming video of host, subject matter expert, and a case study in action. Users can email questions, chat, or download files in real-time. This modality is ideal for visual case studies/product demos, team or customer training, and new product/new service announcements.
Article | June 8, 2021
The last 12 months saw a considerable increase in e-commerce, driven by the global pandemic with many retail commentators believing this is an irreversible behavioural shift.
If correct, this will further underline the importance of the packaging journey, since the likelihood of consumers primarily interacting with brands through deliveries increases, potentially becoming the standard purchasing process.
Robert Lockyer, CEO and founder of Delta Global, a sustainable packaging solutions provider for luxury fashion brands, considers the impact of the packaging journey amid these new retail dynamics.
How much impact could a single packaging box have when it comes to consumer engagement and marketing? This is a question that all retailers and brands should reconsider, given the tumultuous nature of the retail landscape.
If Deloitte’s recent report into the Danish consumer’s permanent shift to online shopping can be viewed as a microcosm of imminent global trends, then businesses must adapt packaging to incorporate the entire journey.
Last year, the fashion and luxury markets were forecast to decline by an astounding $450 - $600 billion. A market previously thought too-big-to fail is taking a huge financial hit. The long-term effects of Covid-19 on retail as whole are unclear. But packaging has become too integral to the sales journey to ignore.
Packaging, therefore, can work as a core marketing tool, beyond the basics of the primary recipients’ experience. In this article, I’ll highlight how best to consider and exploit the entire packaging journey, ensuring that packaging realises its complete potential.
Manufacturing that avoids the use of sustainable materials is becoming impossible to justify, from both an economic and environmental perspective.
In fact, they are, practically speaking, one and the same. We know that a significant majority of consumers expect businesses to adopt a sustainable ethos – and are willing to pay more for it.
Therefore, the economic viability of sustainable packaging is fortified by consumer expectation. It is both a market and environmental inevitability.
Beginning a packaging journey should start with the selection of sustainable, recyclable, reusable materials. This is a stage in the packaging voyage that is easily achieved, with manufacturers increasingly switching to eco-friendly methods.
At Delta Global, sustainability is incorporated into every packaging product we produce. We’ve seen demands for sustainable services increase, but more can be done to mark this initial step as a marketing footprint rather than a footnote.
There are some great recent examples of how to do this right, from Burberry’s elegant reinvention of the ordinary cardboard box which will go even further to remove all plastic from its packaging by 2025, through to Gucci’s opulent Victorian wallpaper design packaging that is fully recyclable.
And so, step one - the initial consumer experience and expectation, is met through sustainable materials, and when done correctly, is easily exceeded.
Once the correct materials are selected, brands should start think about design beyond creating an attractive, secure container.
The goal here is to inspire the consumer to utilise the packaging in a way that positions them as a virtual brand ambassador.
Consider the rise of the unboxing video. YouTube reported a 57% increase in product unboxing videos in one year, with these videos having in excess of a billion yearly views.
Together with Instagram, where 58% of its estimated 1.074 billion users log-in to follow trends and styles, visually oriented content platforms provide an unmissable marketing opportunity.
It is important to underline that this type of viral marketing need not rely on paid celebrities. In fact, I am advocating for a completely organic approach where possible.
From a brand’s perspective, recipients of well-executed sustainable packaging must progress this initial positive experience by innovative and thoughtful design.
That way, authentically persuasive content will occur naturally. And it's this type of spontaneous, highly engaged micro-influencing that rewards brands that have fully considered the packaging journey.
To achieve this requires innovation. You might consider implementing technology and connected packaging, where apps and QR codes are integrated into the packing itself.
A favourite example of this is Loot Crates brilliantly innovative unboxing experience which connects, via an app, to new products and exclusive items.
While technological innovation provides a novelty that encourages unboxing videos, simpler approaches can equally inspire the consumer through personal touches like VIVE Wellness’ individually packaged and addressed turquoise vitamin tubes, or M.M Lafleur’s curated and detail-oriented ‘bento box’ styling solution.
These packaging creations work because they provide memorable experiences, centred on discovery, individuality and, ultimately, shareability.
Packaging after purchase
The third and most under-utilised part of the packaging journey is post-unboxing usage. Brands should ask themselves who the packaging is seen by – and does the packaging have the function to be seen and used by others?
At this point in the packaging journey, we are hoping to harvest as many positive impressions as possible. This can include, for example, delivery drivers, photographers and stylists.
The concept is not abstract. Reflect on the reaction felt by a fashion photographer the first time they received, from an enthused stylist, a Gucci item in its new opulent emerald green packaging. Or the response of a delivery driver when seeing, in amongst the more mundane boxes, MatchesFashion’s reimagining of the a cardboard parcel.
Is it likely that the impression made by those stand-out packaging designs will be talked about, purred over, recommended and revered? The answer is obviously a resounding yes. When this happens online, we call it influencer marketing.
And we should not dismiss this type of marketing when it happens offline. Word of mouth matters. In an increasingly online consumer market where the first – and perhaps only – physical interaction between brand/consumer is through the packaging experience, it will matter more.
To our imaginary trio of driver, photographer and stylist, let’s introduce the general consumer. How likely it is that any of those would throw such packaging away?
They are so wonderfully designed that reusability and repurposing are inevitable. When a packaging compels secondary usage - deployed around homes and offices as containers, storage or decoration – you are creating an item that symbolises what marketers spending entire budgets pursuing: brand as central to an aspirational lifestyle.
If the retail market is moving irrevocably online, the offline journey of packaging – from manufacturer, deliverer, consumer and user – can ease that transition and become a perpetual marketing tool. This way, brands and retailers can enjoy the journey and the destination.
Article | May 13, 2021
When the manufacturing industry began to embrace digital technology a decade ago, it adopted a new identity — smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0. Applying cloud, automation, analytics, machine learning and big data to production operations created a connected ecosystem for manufacturing and supply chain management, and became a high-growth market. At the start of 2020, the sector was on track to grow into a market worth more than $300 billion in the coming five years.
Then the pandemic hit. By spring, millions of workers had lost their jobs. Some plants closed temporarily or slowed production so workers could spread out to maintain a safe distance from one another. Investment in smart manufacturing fell too, by 16 percent between March and April alone. Some researchers predicted that such a pull-back would dampen investment through 2025.
But the conversations we’ve had with C-suite manufacturing executives and service providers suggest investment in smart manufacturing will intensify. By 2025, it could be worth more than $400 billion. It’s no wonder.
Article | December 28, 2021
Successful manufacturing marketing strategies are all you need to grow your business and make it visible in every way to your target customer group. Many manufacturers are now becoming vigilant towards B2B marketing and have started forming an individual marketing budget in their annual budgets.
“We should quantify marketing to inform what we do – not to decide what we do.”
– Rory Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogily
As per Statista, nearly half of B2B organizations said they’re planning to boost their content budget in the next year.
As a result, B2B marketing for manufacturers must be redesigned and smartly strategized in order to be more effective and fruitful.
This article will focus on the significant challenges manufacturers face in B2B marketing and how manufacturers use the three most sales-driven manufacturing marketing strategies.
4 Biggest Marketing Challenges in B2B & Manufacturing
Develop Tailored Experiences
You have a few seconds to capture the customer's interest. When done correctly, personalization may help. With persistent multi-channel marketing, you may strengthen your brand in target areas. Additionally, an account-based marketing approach enables you to focus on important clients while generating customized content for them. Integrate agile methods to test novel ideas across your business without demanding extensive approval. Further, crowdsourced content, B2B communities, and advocate marketing should be prioritized.
Convert Leads into Sales
With the right strategy, you may generate more high-quality leads. Relate marketing expenditures to sales and demonstrate the impact of marketing on the bottom line. Align marketing and sales by focusing on the customer's purchasing journey. Increase the quality of your leads, transparency, and collaboration with your partners.
Measure Marketing Performance
Marketers will be asked to demonstrate ROI and forecast future actions. Proactively calculate the MROI (Marketing Return on Investment) on marketing and sales investments. Determine how to get the most out of your marketing budget by doing more with less. Focus on making data-driven judgments rather than relying on guesswork.
Maximize the Marketing Tech Investment
As a manufacturer, you have access to a number of tools and resources. You will need to collaborate with your technical team to integrate it. Collaborate with your IT team to effectively adapt, innovate, and apply technology. By integrating current technologies, you can automate and improve marketing campaigns more efficiently.
“Marketing professionals have to act as conveners and connect the dots so that there is alignment between stakeholders like sales and operation teams and executive leadership on what products and services will drive growth in any given quarter."
– Maliha Aqeel, Director of Global Communication, Fix Network World in conversation with Media7
3 Best B2B Marketing Strategies for Manufacturers That Drive Sales
Consider Purchasing an E-commerce Platform
Consumer behavior is driving manufacturing transformation, particularly the shift to digital channels. Manufacturers who still handle consumers solely by phone, fax, or email risk losing their loyalty as their worlds and tastes grow increasingly digital.
Manufacturers have clearly acknowledged the digital transition in 2021. This year's Manufacturing & E-Commerce Benchmark Report says 98% of manufacturers have, or plan to have, an e-commerce strategy. Moreover, 42% of manufacturers who engaged in e-commerce and digital said it strengthened client connections.
How does e-commerce benefit manufacturers?
Distributes a customized catalog to your customers
Ascertains those spare components are visible
It allows customers to customize items online
Sells your whole range online
Increases your consumer base
Focus on the User Experience and Interface (UX/UI)
The term "User Experience" refers to all elements of an end user's engagement with a business, its goods, and services. The purpose of user experience is to establish a connection between company objectives and user demands. An engaging user interface or user experience keeps users engaged and consumers pleased. Additionally, it enhances the rate of return on investment (ROI). That is why it is necessary to maintain great UI/UX quality.
How does UX/UI benefit manufacturers?
Increases the number of conversions
Support is less expensive
It helps with SEO
Brand loyalty is increased
Embrace an Omni-channel Strategy
Millennials represent 73% of those making buying decisions for companies. Part of this means offering a seamless, consistent shopping experience across a variety of channels. With the right CRM solution, you'll eliminate a lot of the legwork associated with targeting specific buyers. Manufacturers can leverage omni-channel to increase availability, promote sales and traffic, and connect digital touchpoints.
How does Omni-channel benefit manufacturers?
Supports marketers in developing trust
Enhances the user experience with the brand
It clarifies a complex subject
Developing a successful manufacturing marketing plan is all that is required to set your organization apart from the competition. Consider thinking outside of the box and developing innovative manufacturing marketing strategies that will surprise your targeted customers and keep you on their minds at all times. B2B marketing for manufacturers has long been a priority, since manufacturers frequently overlook this aspect of their business when they should. Utilize the above-mentioned sales-driven manufacturing marketing methods to assist your organization in growing and reaching the maximum range of target prospects.
What is the goal of business-to-business marketing?
B2B marketing's goal is to familiarize other businesses with your brand name and the value of your product or service in order to convert them into clients.
How can manufacturers energize their market presence?
Manufacturers may boost their market presence by advertising on various social media platforms, opting for native language ads, and partnering with influencers to promote their products or services.